Introduction: The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge and clinical experience of oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMDs) in undergraduate dental students in six European countries (Croatia, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom) and assess student’s attitude and preference to future education on the topic. A secondary aim was to identify gaps in student’s knowledge and clinical practice. The study was a part of the Erasmus+ project “Oral Potentially Malignant Disorders: Healthcare Professionals Training“ (Grant No: 2020-1-UK01-KA202-078917). Materials and Methods: An online questionnaire was distributed to all final-year students in six partner universities. This consisted of four parts assessing: (1) knowledge on OPMDs, (2) clinical experience with this group of patients, (3) self-rated competence in the management of OPMDs and (4) preferences with regard to future education. Results: Two hundred and sixty final-year dental students from six partner universities responded to the questionnaire. Response rates varied from 12% to 92% between partner universities. Significant differences in clinical experience and knowledge were found between students. Students with more clinical exposure to OPMDs rated their knowledge and competence in the management of OPMDs higher than students with less clinical experience. The majority of students were interested in future education on OPMDs, preferably via short educational videos. Conclusion: The majority of students have received theoretical knowledge of OPMDs during their undergraduate studies, however, not all had clinical exposure to this group of patients. Students were open to further education on OPMDs. Important deficiencies in knowledge were identified that need to be addressed and it is anticipated that the e-learning platform and e-book that are in development by partner institutions will help to improve overall knowledge of OPMDs.
- dental students
- malignant transformation
- oral cancer
- oral potentially malignant disorders